TESil

More than 60% of all the energy produced in the world today ends up as waste heat. One way to utilise this heat is to let hot air flow through a Thermoelectric Generator (TEG). 

Partners: TEGma, Sintef, UiO, UiA
Funding period: 2017 - 2019
Main goal: To demonstrate a TEG based on silicides with considerable lower price than todays TEG technology.

Background

A TEG-system has no moving parts, requires very little maintenance and, due to its modular design, can be fitted to almost any heat source regardless of size.

The core of a TEG is thermoelectric materials that converts a heat flow into electric current. The higher the temperature difference, the more electricity is generated. However, today's TEG technology is expensive, since TAGs are often made of rare, expensive and even toxic materials.

Important R&D-project

Our TESil project looks into using TEG to make electricity at its plants. In addition, the company have a great R&D-project for TEG. Together with TEGma, Sintef, University of Agder and University of Oslo, Elkem aims to demonstrate a TAG based on silicides. The project runs from 2017 to 2019.

Norwegian research partners Sintef and the mentioned Universities will contribute with important modelling, characterisation and measurement of the silicides to achieve the highest possible efficiency and durability.

Ambitious goals

The goal for TESil is to show that TAG based on silicides will produce electricity at a lower price than today’s TEG technology. By utilising Elkem’s knowledge and expertise in production of advanced silicon-based materials, we wish to develop new materials and advanced production processes for making thermoelectric silicides.

Elkem also want to develop the next generation thermoelectric materials based on harmless silicon mixed with other elements forms silicides. These silicides can also handle higher temperatures than many of today’s materials and will therefore convert heat to electricity more efficient.

Furthermore, Sintef, UiO and UiA will contribute with important modelling, characterisation and measurement of the silicides to achieve the highest possible efficiency and durability. 

TESil is supported by the Research Council of Norway.

Achievements

Through the use of advanced modelling tools the project has so far identified several new interesting binary and ternary silicide compounds with potentially very good thermoelectric properties previously not reported. In continuation we will try to reproduce some of these results in the lab and pilot scale. Applying modelling and simulation tools to design new materials with specific functional and/or structural properties is a promising field, and the collaboration between Sintef (modelling) and Elkem (material development and production) in this project shows how such an approach can be utilised by the material industry to speed up and reduce the cost of new product development.

The project have contributed to establishing a national capability to produce thermoelectric material in a larger scale all the way from raw materials to doped elements. By the end of the project we will have demonstrated thermoelectric modules processed entirely in Norway with material and properties in accordance with state-of-the-art published values.

Elkem has also developed a new processing route for making silicide materials starting which are complicated to make using standard melt routes. This new processing route will have a wider applicability also outside this project for new products based on silicides and are therefore an important outcome with overlapping interest with other Elkem R&D projects such as silicide for 3D printing.